Notre Dame hockey: Tynan helps ND bounce back

Steve Lowe
Tribune Correspondent

SOUTH BEND -- Even shorthanded, No. 11 Notre Dame was too much for Alabama-Huntsville.

The Irish were once again missing four injured forwards Friday night and played backup goaltender Chad Katunar in place of starter Steven Summerhays. But against the winless Chargers, that didn't really matter.

T.J. Tynan had a goal and two assists to move up to 20th on Notre Dame's all-time scoring list as the Irish beat UAH, 5-2, in the first round of the Shillelagh Tournament at Compton Family Ice Arena.

"He's the catalyst," said Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson. "He's the guy that's got to make things happen.

"It's good when (Tynan's line) can get some points on the board."

Robbie Russo also had a goal and two assists, Andy Ryan scored his first career goal and Katunar finished with 13 saves to earn his first career win in his second start for Notre Dame (9-5-1).

The Irish will face Northeastern (8-5-1) Saturday night at 7:35 in the tournament title game. The Huskies (8-5-2) tied Western Michigan, 1-1, in the first game of the day, and won the shootout, 1-0, to advance.

The Chargers (0-13-0) will take on the Broncos (5-5-3) in the consolation game at 4:05.

After scoring just one goal last weekend at Massachusetts-Lowell, despite 75 shots in two games, the Irish offense broke out Friday night, in particular, the top scoring line of Tynan, Bryan Rust and Jeff Costello. Rust finished with three assists and Costello had two.

"It felt great for us because, first night against UMass-Lowell, our line had something like 20 shots on goal, but we couldn't find the back of the net," Rust said. "It feels good to be able to get us all involved."

Tynan, a senior center, has been playing double shifts lately with the Irish down three centers, but was able to play normal minutes against the Chargers.

"Playing less minutes is definitely nice," Tynan said. "Especially to be able to rest up for (Saturday), which I'm not used to."

The Irish jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first 11 minutes. Tynan and Stephen Johns scored goals 23 seconds apart, with Costello and Rust each collecting assists on both goals.

Alabama-Huntsville coach Mike Corbett took his timeout at that point to settle down his team. The Chargers got one back with 21 seconds to play in the first period on a Jeff Vanderlugt rebound goal to make it 3-1.

"We were looking pretty good and moving the puck well," Jackson said. "Then once it got 3-0, we kind of slept walked for a while.

"We tried to get too cute and make too many passes at times, instead of getting the puck to the net."

Vanderlugt made things interesting when he scored again, a re-direct of a Jack Prince power play shot to make it 3-2 with 9:03 left in the second period.

Mario Lucia answered quickly for the Irish with a big blast from the left circle 1:21 later for his sixth goal of the season to get the lead back up to two.

"For us older guys, the switch was turned back on," Rust said. "We've got to play our game for a full 60 minutes."

Russo made it 5-2 with a shorthanded tally from behind the goal line. Russo drifted around the back of the net and poked the loose puck toward the front, where it caromed off UAH goalie Matt Larose's skate and into the net.

Notre Dame outshot the Chargers, 44-15, with Russo collecting a game-high eight shots on goal.

"Robbie has been consistently good," Jackson said. "Consistency was always his weakness, but as a junior, he's been our best defenseman back there on a nightly basis. There's no letdown from him."

Notre Dame defenseman Eric Johnson returned to the lineup after a shoulder injury suffered on Oct. 26 against Minnesota Duluth forced him to miss eight games.

Walk-on center Joe Aiken also got a couple of shifts late in the game and managed to get three shots on net, including one from point-blank range, as his Irish teammates tried hard to set him up for a goal.

"We were really hoping with that last shot in the slot that he was going to put it home," Rust said.

NOTRE DAME 5, UAH 2

At Compton Family Ice Arena

FIRST PERIOD

ND - Andy Ryan, 1 (Robbie Russo, T.J. Tynan) PP, 4:08; ND - Tynan, 3 (Jeff Costello, Bryan Rust) 10:19; Stephen Johns, 3 (Rust, Costello) 10:42; UAH - Jeff Vanderlugt, 2 (Brandon Carlson, Doug Reid) 19:39. Shots on goal: ND 16, UAH 4; Penalties: UAH 1-2, ND 0-0.

SECOND PERIOD

UAH - Vanderlugt, 3 (Jack Prince, Steven Koshey) PP, 10:57; ND - Mario Lucia, 6 (Russo) 13:18; Russo, 3 (Rust, Tynan) SH, 15:54. Shots: ND 14, UAH 8; Penalties: ND 3-6, UAH 0-0.

THIRD PERIOD

No scoring. Shots: ND 14, UAH 3; Penalties: None.

UAH110 - 2
ND320 - 5

Shots: ND 44, UAH 15; Saves: UAH 39 (Matt Larose), ND 13 (Chad Katunar); Power plays: ND 1-1, UAH 1-3; Penalties: ND 3-6, UAH 1-2; Records: ND 9-5-1, UAH 0-13-0; Attendance: 4,613.

Notre Dame's Andy Ryan, center, celebrates with T.J. Tynan (18) after Ryan scored a goal Friday against Alabama-Huntsville.